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Dear Twitter

Jan 8, 2010 In Web Culture By Nishant Kothary

I've been thinking about this for some time and I think it's time we talk, Twitter

MIX Online v0 Dear Twitter,

First off, I’m sorry I’m writing you a letter and not talking to you directly. It’s just, I express myself better in writing (in no small thanks to you, of course). Where do I begin?

Over the holidays, I thought a lot about us. Where our relationship is headed, what we’ve been doing these past few years, all that. I guess I just totally “unplugged” on vacation and it felt really, really good.

To be honest, I feel like it’s just not working out between us.

We both know I’ve said these words before. And we also know I keep coming back. I mean, you’re so good to me. You let me be myself: brutally honest or wicked hilarious. You make me feel popular, like thousands of people hang on my every word. When I’m bored,sad or lonely,you’re just… there. Part of me will always love you, Twitter.

Talking to my therapist over Christmas, though, I had this huge realization: we’re completely emotionally fused. I see codependency around the corner. It’s not just your fault—it’s mine too.

You know I’m not as differentiated as I should be. I find my sense of self through what others think about me. My therapist calls this “other-validation”. He says it’s not my fault; I just developed that way.

And you don’t make it easy. In fact, you encourage seeking validation from others. You even reward it! Witty one-liners, passive aggression, hate mongering, emphatic endorsements, and showing off get me the sweet gift of a RT, an @ reply, # tags and more followers.

It’s a vicious and regressive cycle, Twitter! I’ve stopped using my neocortex. My reptilian brain has taken over and I feel like one of Pavlov’s dogs, making snap judgments and salivating all over the place. Now I’m even obsessing over you in my downtime, like when I run.

The running thing is the last straw. I’m getting scared. So let’s nip this in the bud.

Starting now, I’m going to do all those healthy things that turn me into mammal whose neocortical brain is in charge. Things like reading. Hanging out with my wife. And friends. Playing my guitar. Listening to music. Indulging my Netflix habit. Having conversations without character limits.

Yes, I know what you’re going to say—that I already do all these things. And you’re right. I do, kinda. But going forward, I think it’s best that you don’t join me when I do them. Please don’t make yourself a part of those experiences without my conscious permission.

But let’s not get carried away. This is not the end. I’ll still come hang out every now and then. I value your spirit, and what you’ve tried to do for me, and some of things you brought to my life. I’ve met wonderful people because of you. You’ve created opportunities for me. Our relationship has helped me understand myself better and inspired a new and healthy level of introspection.

Will you be alright? After all, you do have Ashton, Oprah, Seacrest, Britney and Shaq. Even Barack.

Yes, I think you’ll be fine.


So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye,
A Recovering Twitterer

p.s. feel free to share this with your other friends, Twitter. Maybe they’ve gone through the same emotions? Maybe they’ve dealt with it in a different way? I’d love to hear their thoughts below.
p.p.s Feel free to follow us on… Twitter :-)

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15 comments so far. You should leave one, too.

Twitter Twitter said on Jan 8, 2010

Who is she? Is it Facebook? She''ll never treat you like I treated you!

fjpoblam fjpoblam said on Jan 9, 2010

Ditto that, pard. The *conversation* has ebbed away from Twitter... It seems more a bunch of disconnected posts from folks not listening to each other or answering back. I can often get as much from a favorite RSS without having to pay continuous attention. Social? Not.

Forrest said on Jan 9, 2010

what funny words! I like the last: p.p.s Feel free to follow us on... Twitter

Scott Radcliff Scott Radcliff said on Jan 9, 2010

I agree with you 100%. I actually think that a lot of people with use 2010 as a time to scale back on the saturated social media front.

I have started scaling back how much I am on the networks and I am pleased with how productive I can be.

Funny that you mention guitar. I just bought my son a guitar and it made me pick mine up again so I could teach him. I had forgotten how fun playing guitar is.

Ian Muir Ian Muir said on Jan 14, 2010

The death of Twitter
Opens doors for my new app
Post in just Haikus

T T said on Jan 20, 2010

You''re hilarious

Amy Amy said on Feb 3, 2010

I like your blog. You don''t seem like someone who should be limited by predetermined character limits.

Tuhin Kumar Tuhin Kumar said on Feb 21, 2010

I simply love the design of your site. Will be taking inspiration for the next redesign of IP. Also as far as the post goes, it is true, the amount of time "wasted" socializing could be spent on so many things far more productive and utilitarian.

Brian Brian said on Mar 11, 2010

I use twitter like SMS. It provides me "alerts" into the minds of others. Which may or may not lead to real content that I''d like to read, bookmark or share. So I only follow people that I think use twitter to "alert" others about their real content - blogs, articles, etc. I don''t care to contribute to twitter (anymore). I''m selfish that way and I like being disconnected. It''s unfortunate I can''t use something like google reader to accomplish this. If everyone would just post to one damn place w/ a working RSS feed...

leah leah said on Mar 11, 2010

Too funny. I see so many people ''trying'' to be witty on Facebook and twitter, I often think someone needs to invent a witty app. You plug in the basic subject and someone gives you a funny take on it. Haiku app? Genius!

discorax discorax said on Apr 8, 2010

you''re a stronger man than I. Best of luck to you.

Fikri Rasyid Fikri Rasyid said on Feb 20, 2011

Haha, this post reminds me of Leo Babauta''s disconnect philosophy. Connect less, interact with people you love directly more :)

ron ron said on Feb 24, 2011

join me at where we all just sit and look and... whew! ...i''m already tired!!!

Lauren Lauren said on Mar 21, 2011

Sorry, Ian, I''m not talented enough to post in haikus!

Anyway, maybe it''s time to start a Social Media Anonymous? Many a priority has been neglected by me because of all the social media out there. I think some people are getting bored with the over saturation of other people''s lives and thoughts. Maybe we''ll see a great backlash where everyone shuts their laptops and shares information face to face again? But then again, probably not. ;)

Studio Beats By Dre said on Apr 17, 2012

Me and my friend were arguing about an problem similar to this! Now I realize that I had been correct. lol! Thank you for that information you article.